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Award-winning TV producer is keynote of ASU Herberger College entrepreneurship and the arts symposium in November

Rick Cleveland is an Emmy® Award-winning television writer, screenwriter and playwright and keynote speaker of the entrepreneurship and the arts symposium.

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

October 28, 2008

Emmy® Award-winning producer and writer Rick Cleveland, whose credits include hit series,Six Feet Under and The West Wing, is the keynote speaker at the ASU Herberger College School of Theatre and Film p.a.v.e. Inaugural Symposium on Entrepreneurship and the Arts.

This Nov. 7 – 8, the symposium explores the intersection between art and business, specifically the special challenges individual artists face as they create in a commercial environment. Noted writers, actors, musicians and producers from stage and screen, as well as educators from across the nation, participate in events held at the Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel Tempe and on the ASU Tempe campus. Events are open to the public but registration is required and a fee charged for the opening-night dinner and reception.

“This struggle between art and business is something that creative people in every discipline face,” says Linda Essig, director of ASU Herberger School of Theatre and Film and artistic director of the MainStage season. “Many artists, whether working in performance, film and video, music or the visual arts, work independently. They are, in effect, their own businesses, working not only to create, but to market, distribute and manage their creative enterprises. This symposium explores the ethics, joys and special challenges facing artists today.”

Keynote speaker Rick Cleveland was an executive producer on Six Feet Under, a co-producer on The West Wing, and has been a consulting producer on Mad Men. He currently is working on feature-film projects with Will Ferrell, Robert Redford and James Mangold. He has performed his monologue play, My Buddy Bill at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, where he is a playwright-in-residence, the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, the Goodman Theater in Chicago and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. My Buddy Bill won the Jury Award for Best Solo Performance at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. in 2006 and now is a top-ten Comedy Central Special on I-Tunes. His feature-film credits include Runaway Jury and Jerry and Tom, which was an official selection at both Sundance and the Toronto Film Festivals. At ASU, Cleveland discusses the ethical challenges of keeping his writing pure in the face of commercial pressures. Other topics and speakers include:

– Victor Talmadge, nationally acclaimed film and theatrical actor (Broadway road productions of The Lion King and the The King and I) – on the plight of the actor on the road.

– William Partlan, an internationally renowned stage director and School of Theatre and Film professor, outlines his formula for growing a small production into an international touring mega-hit – as he did for Triple Espresso, which now is running in its 12th year around the world – and will be in Phoenix in January, 2009.

The p.a.v.e. Inaugural Symposium on Entrepreneurship and the Arts is hosted by the ASU Herberger College School of Theatre and Film and co-sponsored by the ASU Herberger College of the Arts and its Schools of Art and of Music, as well as the ASU W.P. Carey School of Business and the ASU School of Public Affairs.

p.a.v.e. is part of ASU’s “University as Entrepreneur” initiative, funded by part of a $5 million grant to ASU by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to further cross-campus entrepreneurship education. The p.a.v.e. initiative supports arts entrepreneurship programs in the School of Theatre and Film. For more information about p.a.v.e., visit

Sheraton Phoenix Airport Hotel Tempe, 1600 S. 52nd Street, Tempe, AZ; ASU Memorial Union stage, room MU 085, ASU Tempe campus

Nov. 7, 5 p.m.; Nov. 8, 8:30 a.m.

Friday dinner and opening reception with keynote speaker Rick Cleveland, $95; Saturday symposium is free, but ticketed.

Public Contact
Herberger College box office, 480.965.6447; School of Theatre and Film. 480.965.5337,
To register for the symposium, keynote address and opening night dinner, visit:

The School of Theatre and Film in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University provides a comprehensive range of courses in performance and directing; design and production; new work development; theatre and performance studies; film; and theatre for youth. Its Theatre for Youth program is nationally ranked in the top three and the dramatic writing/playwriting program is ranked 15th among public institutions by U.S.News & World Report. To learn more about the School of Theatre and Film, visit

Media Contact:
Laurie A. Trotta Valenti
ASU Herberger College 
School of Theatre and Film